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Cough, runny nose, hoarseness of the voice: Who was tending so far this Winter with such symptoms, the bed, felt perhaps vergrippt, suffered but probably a harmless cold. Since the turn of the year, experts found in samples of patients but, increasingly, real flu virus, the number of confirmed cases is rising. Officially, the flu wave in Germany has started well, according to a report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin shows.

“The wave will drag on for several weeks,” said RKI expert Silke Buda. To vaccinate, be possible. Recommended for the vaccination of Pregnant women among people over 60, the chronically ill, as well as Doctors or nurses. “You should hurry now, but Until the protection is built, it will take up to 14 days,” said Buda. According to the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, more than 21 million doses of the vaccine were released.

Flu: thousands of new cases in the last week

Since the start of the season in October 2019 13.350 nationwide by laboratory analyses confirmed cases have been reported, and 4439 in the past week. So far, proof died from the fact 32 people. More than 3500 patients were treated for flu in hospital. Have been reported, for example, 15 outbreaks in nurseries.

Cold time

Five cold-error, everyone has done it once

These Figures show only a section of the actual events: According to the RKI estimates have to be plugged in in the course of flu outbreaks, 5 to 20 percent of the population. Tens of thousands of people Dead in fierce waves are assumed to be – mostly the elderly are affected, have the highest risk for a severe course of the disease. The Severity of the wave varies from year to year. Last Winter, the RKI evaluated the course as moderate.

The weather can affect the Transmission according to the RKI estimate indirectly. In very cold weather, people stayed longer in closed rooms and dry heating air can make the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, under certain circumstances, infection-prone. Also the droplets which are coughed by the sick-out could float in the cold for longer in a dry room air and thus over larger distances on the breath of other human mucous membranes get. “For the Severity of a Flu epidemic, and the number of disease, other factors are certainly more important, for example, the immunity in the population due to previous flu outbreaks” said Buda.

The surface structures of influenza virus change from year to year, as the Director of the clinic for pneumology, Hannover Medical school, Tobias Welte explains. For the immune system, this means changing challenges. Also, the vaccine needs on an annual basis to the modified structures is adapted – months prior to the start of the season, in accordance with recommendations of the world health organization (WHO). A peak every ten years, as is the case with some of the other vaccination is for Influenza, therefore, possible.

Vaccination as the most important measure of protection

Repeatedly, the amount of protection the vaccine offered was not, however, optimal. “In the past ten years, the WHO recommendations of at least three years, completely wrong,” said Welte. During the manufacture of millions of doses of the vaccine to be running, to continue to evolve the pathogens. So may it come that the vaccine fits in. In the case of older people, the immune system is often so fit and the vaccine, therefore, offers only a weaker protection. The RKI noted, however, that given the frequency of the flu still numerous cases with the vaccination prevents you applied as the main protection measure.

Scientists track international already longer the idea to find other, more efficient approaches: for example, a universal vaccine against all Flu strains. The idea was “a big dream”, for its fulfillment, but still much work to be done, said Welte. Such vaccines, which are directed against less variable core structures of the Virus, are in the early stages of development, such as in an animal model. Up for approval for use in humans more like 15 years, so the expert went by from then on for at least ten. Where appropriate, the policy could accelerate the procedure, should be found a suitable substance.

The flu often starts suddenly. Include typical symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, limbs and headaches and a General feeling of illness. In addition to mild gradients also complications are possible, such as with pneumonia.

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